Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cold Fusion Rumblings

Cold fusion refuses to go away, and reports of positive results continue to trickle in. Most recently, impressive claims are being made for a device developed by Italian engineer Andrea Rossi:
While it is fair to say that the jury is still out, there has been a lot of good news in the past couple of years. There were two reports (in 2013 and 2014) on tests of Rossi’s device by teams of Swedish and Italian physicists whose scientific credentials are not in doubt, and who had access to one of his devices for extended periods (a month for the second test). Both reports claimed levels of excess heat far beyond anything explicable in chemical terms, in the testers’ view. (The second report also claimed isotopic shifts in the composition of the fuel.) Since then, there have been several reports of duplications by experimenters in Russia and China, guided by details in the 2014 report.

More recently, Rossi was granted a US patent for one of his devices, previously refused on the grounds that insufficient evidence had been provided that the technique worked as claimed. There are credible reports that a 1MW version of his device, producing many times the energy that it consumes, has been on trial in an industrial plant in North Carolina for months, with good results so far. And Rossi’s US backer and licensee, Tom Darden – who has a long track record of investment in pollution-reducing industries – has been increasingly willing to speak out in support of the LENR technology field. (Another investor, the UK-based Woodford Funds, reports that it conducted ‘a rigorous due-diligence process that has taken two and half years’.)

Finally, very recently, there’s a paper by two senior Swedish physicists, Rickard Lundin and Hans Lidgren, proposing a mechanism for Rossi’s results, inspired in part by the second of two test reports mentioned above. Lundin and Lidgren say that the ‘experimental results by Rossi and co-workers and their E-Cat reactor provide the best experimental verification’ of the process they propose.
Most physicists still don't take any of this seriously. But who knows?

1 comment:

Alain Coetmeur said...

The problem with reality is that it refuse to go away even if some disagree with it, but hopefully you can delay indefinitely it's acceptation, by terrr agains the dissenters.

Recently this philospher ask a question in an interesting way.

My not so naive question is why are most people who did not experiment, so rure it does not exist. Given the strange volume of peer reviewed papers, of millions nvested by US and UK funds, and despite the 4 critical papers f lewis, Hansen,Morrison and Wilson, and the definitive opinion of many armchairs critics, I would expect fierce disagreement and not this apparent consensus.

When a structure is too clean, it is often manufactured.

Having an open conclusion is above average in this domain.
With all my respect for this suspension of belief.